My Biggest Obstacle

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?


"My-my-my name is Te-Teddy."

My presentation about France to my fifth-grade class turned sour from the beginning. I knew what words I wanted to say, and my mouth was moving, but no words were coming out. As the students grew impatient and critical, the entire room got larger, my face burned like the sun, and tears stung my eyes like lemon juice. I remember staring blankly at the dingy white wall behind the students, avoiding eye contact as I attempted to rearrange the jumbled letters that swirled around in my cluttered cerebrum. I mouthed the words and strained hard to speak. Finally, the words began to come through, flowing fast, choppy, and hardly recognizable.

My stuttering began at the age of five, when I woke up for school one day and was unable to verbally communicate. Sometimes, it happens in short bursts, leaving me choking for air, or in long bursts, forcing me to cram the gaping gaps of dialogue with filler words. According to clinical professionals, stuttering blocks the path from the brain to the mouth. Muscles halt, and words are left stewing in the brain until finally sent to the mouth to be formed. I experienced challenges with making phone calls, talking in class, communicating with strangers, and ordering food...

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